Book Reviews

Top Ten Reads of 2022

This year it didn’t seem as hard to pick my top ten reads, not because I read a lot of boring or disappointing books, but because these books just really stood out to me.

1. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse – This was my first really good read of the year! It’s a secluded location thriller, set in a Gothic-y resort that used to be a psyhiatric hospital. This one kept me turning pages late into the night. If you love thrillers, you’ll enoy this one.

2. The Agathas by Katherine Glasgow and Liz Lawson – This is a YA mystery. Two girls who are complete opposites solve the murder of a classmate. Not only was this also a pageturner, but I loved the friendship that formed between the two girls.

3. The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick – This is a general adult fiction book. It follows Liv Green, a maid who wishes to be a writer. She gets her wish, when her famous author boss dies before finishing her book. Liv has to finish the book, but in doing so uncovers secrets, including one that has a surprising connection to herself. I finished this book in one night. It was full of heart, hope, and a dash of mystery, and I kept thinking about it long after I had closed the book.

4. A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow – This is a MG fantasy about a girl who gets a wish from a mermaid and has to figure a way out of the exorbitant price the mermaid is demanding in exchange for said wish. This is an excellent book – everything you are looking for is there. It would be great for use in the classroom, but I think any fan of fantasy (no matter their age) would enjoy it.

5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – I know there are some people who didn’t like this book, and some who avoided it because of some controversy, but this is an excellent story. It has the quality of a classic book, and I have no doubt it will become a modern classic. You do have to understand the style of writing is different from a typical popular book, but that is part of what makes it such a good book. It is a true examination of human nature, both the positve qualities and the negative ones. The movie is excellent as well!

6. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager – Also a thriller, this one took an unexpected turn from the author’s typical books. I know some people did not like it because of that, but I loved it. It was masterfully done and hooked me in from the first page.

7. The Housemaid by Freida McFadden – Another thriller that hooked me immediately. Also, there is second book coming out in 2023, so as soon as I heard about it, I added it to my TBR list.

8. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – A step away from my normal genre, but so good! This is a memoir from one of the child stars from the Nickelodeon show iCarly. So honest and humorous, it was especially great on audio as Jennette reads it herself.

9. The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James – I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by this author, but this one is a bit different than some of her others. It is historical, set in the 1920’s, and is supernatural, but is so well written it was hard to put down.

10. Survive the Night by Riley Sager – I know this is the second book by this author, but what can I say? Riley Sager is king of writing thrillers you just can’t put down.

Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Reviews

The Agathas Book Review

I recently finished reading The Agathas by Kathleen Gasglow and Liz Lawson, and I really enjoyed it! This book was released yesterday, May 3rd. The launch event took place at a local bookstore, One More Page Books, and I was able to attend. It was a lot of fun and another bookstore for #22in22, so I’ll be posting about that experience soon. (To find out more about the #22in22 challenge, check out this post.)

About the Book

Last summer, Alice Ogilve’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. Where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove, because she’s not talking. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex–best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .

Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.

In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need—the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into.

My Review

This book was so good! I loved the nods to Agatha Christie, and the suspense kept me turning pages. I’m also really hoping that this will become a series, because I think it would make a good series, and I want to read more about Alice and Iris. (At the launch event, the authors did confirm that there is second book in the works, slated to be released in May 2023.)

The character development was great! I liked how the Alice and Iris were from such different backgrounds but were able to find common ground and cultivate a friendship. This book also had all the great things about a classic mystery story – It wasn’t immediately obvious who the killer was, and there were some nice twists to keep the reader guessing.

For me, this was right up there with One of Us is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, and I think fans of both those books will also enjoy this one. I think any fan of the classic who-dun-it story and Agatha Christie or Nancy Drew will also like this book.

About the Authors

Kathleen Gasglow

Kathleen Glasgow is the author of THE AGATHAS, YOU’D BE HOME NOW, GIRL IN PIECES (a New York Times bestseller and Target Book Club pick), and HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK. Visit her on Twitter (@kathglasgow), Instagram (misskathleenglasgow), her website (www.kathleenglasgowbooks.com), or TikTok @kathleenglasgow.

Liz Lawson

Liz Lawson’s debut contemporary YA novel, THE LUCKY ONES, released from Delacorte Press/Random House in 2020. Next up is THE AGATHAS, a YA mystery she had the pleasure of writing with Kathleen Glasgow (NYT Bestselling author of GIRL IN PIECES).

Currently, Liz resides in the DC metro region, where she lives with an adorable toddler, a fantastic husband, and two VERY bratty cats.

Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @lzlwsn.